iFly Chicago: Experience the Sensation of Freefalling

I believe in the “never say never” mantra. However, there are exceptions—like jumping out of an airplane. I can say with 99.9% certainty that I will never jump out of a plane, possibly even if my life depended on it. I did get a chance, though, to experience the exhilaration of freefalling, without the fear of crashing smack dab onto the ground, with the iFLY Chicago indoor skydiving experience.

I was reluctant at first. I thought for sure I’d have to jump off of a platform, but then I read that you can do it whether you’re 3 years old or 103. Certainly no mother in her right mind would allow her three-year-old to do something dangerous.

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iFLY is a wind tunnel that can generate wind speeds of 130 mph or greater. It’s the wind that pushes you up and keeps you up. There is no jumping from anything required. I’m getting ahead of myself, though. Let me tell you the process from the beginning.

Our group of a dozen or so first watched others fly, including children. One at a time, horizontal on their bellies, an instructor would hang on, then let go, and they’d float up high into the flight chamber and back down again.

Corralled into the training room, we watched an orientation film explaining how the wind tunnel works and instructing us how to position our bodies: belly down, head up, arms forward and bent inward, legs bent at the knees. Our instructor followed up with live instruction, showing us hand signals he’d use to remind us to keep in the correct position. It’s loud in the flight chamber, so we wouldn’t hear verbal cues.

Once we were fitted with jumpsuits, helmets and goggles, we were led to the chamber, lined up on the bench in the order we’d be flying. Each of us would have two one-minute sessions.

All suited up at iFLY ChicagoThird in line, I was able to watch the first two closely before it was my turn.

On the benchAs I entered the flight chamber, the instructor motioned me to bend my body forward, arms in front, head up. He would continue throughout the session to use the reminder hand signals and to move me around.

Entering the wind tunnelFrom there I floated. I never touched the cable net floor, never saw what was below me.

Flying at iFLY ChicagoIn the second session, having the basics down, it was time to have more fun. The instructor held on to me, guiding me high into the flight chamber, spinning around and then letting go, up and down, around and around. I was a tad nervous knowing I was so high in the air, yet it was exhilarating.

Up high 2After our group finished our second sessions, four instructors entered the flight chamber and performed an amazing acrobatic show, coordinating tumbling, spinning, flying high, flying low, all on a cushion of air.

Instructor showIf the iFLY experience really is what freefalling feels like, I can understand why some people jump out of a plane. As for me? No way. I’ll stick with the iFLY indoor skydiving.

iFLY Chicago Locations

iFLY Chicago has two locations: 5520 Park Place in Rosemont and 1752 Freedom Drive in Naperville. Visit the web site for details, including restrictions, or to book a flight.

Disclosure: My visit to iFLY Chicago was hosted by the Village of Rosemont and iFLY Chicago. However, all opinions are my own. Photos by Skip Reed.

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10 thoughts on “iFly Chicago: Experience the Sensation of Freefalling

  • March 9, 2015 at 9:53 am
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    This sounds like a lot of fun Connie!! I may have to try this.

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    • March 9, 2015 at 10:27 am
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      You should, Meridith. You will love it.

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  • April 4, 2015 at 7:53 pm
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    There’s something similar in Oakville, here in Ontario, and it has been a hit. I have to say that it’s a fantastic approximation of the real thing, though I personally would love to experience a zero G environment.

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  • April 4, 2015 at 8:11 pm
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    Oh my! I’ve seen these iFly’s in several cities and love to stop and watch the people. The instructors make it look so easy and then I see the real people struggling but having an absolute blast! Glad you got to experience it.

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  • April 4, 2015 at 8:28 pm
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    I have never done iFly, but I have watched a ton of people do it at CityWalk in Universal City, CA. It looks like a lot of fun. I am not one for jumping out of planes either! Looks like you had a great time. It is really cool to watch the instructors show off as well.

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  • April 4, 2015 at 9:54 pm
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    There is now an iFly here in my hometown of Virginia Beach as well, I’ve been wanting to give it a try.

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    • April 5, 2015 at 6:45 am
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      iFLY is apparently popping up all over. It’s definitely a fun experience, Brianna.

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  • April 18, 2015 at 7:54 pm
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    Glad you enjoyed your experience! We looooove to tunnel fly.

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    • April 18, 2015 at 10:02 pm
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      I would imagine you must love to tunnel fly, Vince. I was really impressed with all that the experienced folks could do in there, how there were able to control their movements.

      Reply

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